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Boaters Protest Seismic Testing On Cayuga Lake


ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - Five paddlers gathered on the Cayuga Lake near Lansing on Tuesday. They were there to protest seismic testing in the lake by Cargill.

Cargill operates a salt mine under Cayuga Lake.

Testing began a few weeks ago, but the protestors just recently learned about it. They are worried about why it's being done. The group stopped off shore of the salt mine facility which dwarfs the little vessels.

Enfield resident Stephanie Redmond paddled across the lake to participate in the protest. She does not like the seismic testing, in fact, she doesn’t like the salt mine at all.

"I don’t want them to do any more testing," she said. "I want them to completely shut down the mine. I don’t think they should be mining under the lake. It’s too much of a natural resource that we need. It’s too precious for us."

One reason Redmond considers the lake so valuable is because it provides the water for six Tompkins County municipalities.

Cargill is not required to get a permit to do seismic testing in the lake and the company didn’t let the public know it would be happening.

The company’s silence has fueled rumors that Cargill wants to expand the mining operation further under Cayuga Lake.

On the pontoon boat, Ruth Groff sits in the shade of a banner that reads “No More Mine Expansion.”

"It’s why they’re doing the testing," she said. "To expand the mines and therefore, we don’t want them to expand the mines."

Several protests also said they worry that the testing and continued mining would lead to a mine collapse like one that occurred in 1994 in Rest of New York.

The New York Department of Environment Conservation told WSKG that acoustic seismic testing has occurred before without any known environmental impacts.

In a statement, Cargill wrote that the testing is part of their standard operations at the salt mine. They denied WSKG's request for an interview. They expect testing to be finished by the end of the week.